Tuesday. So even though Ryan was the one ejected last week, Melodramatic Announcer begins his melodramatic recap by telling us about Justin's close call with the voters before showing Ryan's tearful farewell. Tonight, six will sing for their supper. One will get nothing but water and maybe that little container of crackers you get with the salad.
Credits. Ryan "Over the Rainbow" Seacrest and Brian "Jeepers Creepers" Dunkleman enter from opposite sides of the stage, rather than from the back like they normally do. The reason for this change is that there's an actual live band taking up the middle of the stage. Yay! Live music! Black and Decker are both wearing decent suits. I actually like Brian's shirt and tie. Ew. I'm sure he'll open his mouth any moment and I'll hate him even more. Oh, here we go -- after crowing about how much everybody on earth loves the show, Ryan declares that he's asking for more money. Brian says, "I'm the guy asking for a favored-nation's contract." Wow! Unfunny and nonsensical. I'm sure they just can't wait to sign you on to American Idol 2.
Tonight's theme is "Big Band," hence the big band. I'm so relieved that they realize a real band is necessary to pull this theme off. The band plays a few measures of what I think is "American Bandstand" to prove to the audience that the instruments are real and that they're actually playing them. Black and Decker explain that they chose Big Band for this week's theme in the hopes of getting rid of Nikki. Or they give some blah reason that nobody cares about and make a stupid "big is better" joke that's not funny. You decide. They introduce the kids, who file out from the side while the band plays the show's theme music. They've all dressed for the theme, though Nikki has her typical rocker add-ons.
We get a brief clip show of what it's like for the kids to rehearse with an actual band, rather than with recorded music. A band is much harder to rewind. Musicians practice. The kids show up and look excited. Somebody else to blame for bad performances! The piano player insists that the kids have no idea what they're in for. Neither does he. Has he ever seen R.J. perform? The piano player says that the kids have to "take charge" of the performance and make sure that they're the "focal point." The kids practice. Even in the rehearsals, R.J. is overwhelmed by the music.
Back at The Octagon of Judgment, it's time for Black and Decker to introduce the judges. Ryan calls Randy "Everybody Eats" Jackson a "lovely big bear of a man," so we know who he's turned to now that Simon is stuck on Christina. Brian skeeves by describing Paula "Nice Work If You Can Get It" Abdul as being the only judge "who looks good in high heels and a teddy." Paula is the only one who laughs. She's wearing a low-cut red dress that is very unflattering, and a necklace made out of gold doubloons. As she's introduced, Simon "Mean To Me" Cowell leans over and deliberately stares at her cleavage. Black and Decker introduce Simon as "Hannibal Lecter, but without the charm." The sound guys start piping in the boos early so that they aren't drowned out by the pending cheers. Black and Decker explain that the kids have been thinking and worrying about the judges all week, because their comments about the performances are so influential. In the background, Foreshadowing hands out bottled water to all the band members.